How We Weatherproof Steel Fabrication Products
Numerous items created by steel fabrication have become indispensable to our modern lives. We use these products everywhere, from within our own kitchens right through to construction and architecture. Steel is stable, strong and versatile, but like most materials it can be affected by exposure to the weather.
Here at Specialised Metalwork we’re proud of the knowledge and experience we offer in the field of fabricated steel. We appreciate that our clients want their products to last, and we know exactly how to achieve this. Read on to discover how we weatherproof products made of steel.
How does weather damage steel?
Oxidisation is a chemical process that causes metal to corrode when exposed to moisture. It doesn’t happen overnight. But stainless steel fabrication products exposed to the elements over a long period of time can be affected. Steel is an alloy of iron, and when iron is unoxidised it’s a structurally sound metal. But when iron reacts with oxygen it becomes iron oxide, better known as rust.
Metal items are more at risk in rainy areas or near the sea, as saltwater increases the chances of oxidisation. If left untreated in these conditions, metalwork will begin to corrode. This is not only unattractive, but can cause structures to become weak and unstable.
Preventing steel corrosion
There are a number of ways to avoid corrosion on exterior steelwork, and good design is one of them. Avoiding areas where water could collect and creating surfaces that drain easily can help. Having good airflow around exposed metalwork will also reduce the risk of rust.
A simple way to keep rust at bay is by coating exposed steel in waterproof paint. This prevents water and air from reaching the metal beneath. But there is a downside. In damp or coastal areas the metalwork may need to be recoated on a fairly regular basis.
One of the most effective ways to protect steel from rust is galvanisation. This involves placing the finished product in a bath of molten zinc, and then cooling it. When exposed to the elements, this protective coating of zinc will form a first line of defence against oxidation. Depending on local climate, the galvanised layer could last for up to 50 years. This will significantly increase the expected lifespan of the product.
Stainless steel is made by adding chromium to ordinary steel, to create a product we use every day. This makes the steel much more durable and resistant to corrosion, as it is largely immune to oxidisation. Though a little more expensive, the finish is clean and attractive. The process will also significantly extend the expected lifespan of a product.
At Specialised Metalwork we offer an array of products and services to both commercial and domestic customers. These range from bespoke staircases and balustrades to steel items for large construction projects. We pride ourselves on being specialists in our field, and are happy to offer friendly and sensible advice. Contact us for more information on any aspect of steel fabrication.